First WHO-IAEA Joint Cancer Seminar held in Mongolia

8 November 2010

A WHO-IAEA Joint Cancer Seminar took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 1-3 November 2010 within the framework of the WHO-IAEA Joint Programme on Cancer Control, and was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Mongolia. This was the first time that a joint event was organized by WHO and IAEA since the establishment of the Joint Programme in 2009, and highlights the close collaboration that exists between both organizations and the commitment to fight cancer together. The “call for action” launched by WHO in 2005, finally bore its fruits and materialized in a joint desire to “make a difference”.

The seminar was aimed at strengthening National Cancer Control Programmes (NCCPs) and Primary Health Care approaches for cancer prevention and control in the eight PACT Model Demonstration Sites (PMDS) Member States. The meeting gathered health professionals in cancer control, non-communicable diseases and primary health care from Albania, Ghana, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Yemen, as well as international experts and WHO and IAEA representatives, who all contributed to the success of the event.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, on official visit to Mongolia, delivered a special address on the first day of the seminar together with Dr Jadambaa Tsolmon, Vice-Minister of Health. The Director General was pleased to note that a WHO-IAEA Joint Programme on Cancer Control has been established since 2009, and emphasized the wish for the IAEA to continue strengthening its already strong ties with WHO. He also expressed his personal commitment to fighting cancer and promoting effective cancer control, and added that his presence at the seminar illustrated the IAEA's commitment to continue implementing its mandate in partnership with the WHO and other key organisations through PACT. This approach, he highlighted, had proven essential in allowing PACT to bridge the gap between IAEA and WHO, from radiation medicine to cancer control, and from a focus on treating individual cancer patients to a focus on populations.

Mr Amano thanked the Mongolian authorities for having made the seminar possible as well as Dr Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General, for her continuous support and full commitment to the Joint Programme on Cancer Control. As a concluding remark he stated that “Together we have a real opportunity to improve cancer survival in developing countries”.